Lauren Combs, a sales representative at Sheer Essentials Lingerie Swimwear on Kenneth Street, said the store will close and amalgamate with its other location on the Trans-Canada Highway later this month. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Lauren Combs, a sales representative at Sheer Essentials Lingerie Swimwear on Kenneth Street, said the store will close and amalgamate with its other location on the Trans-Canada Highway later this month. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Business notes: Sheer Essentials Lingerie Swimwear to amalgamate 2 stores

The latest from Cowichan Valley’s business community

Sheer Essentials Lingerie & Swimwear will be shutting down its store on Kenneth Street in Duncan on Dec. 24 and amalgamating it with its other location at 446 Trans Canada Hwy.

Sales representative Lauren Combs said the business, which has operated the outlet store on Kenneth Street for 15 years, will operate solely out of its TCH location, where its sister store Curvy Fashions is also situated, after Christmas.

“The TCH store will give us more space to move and work, and it has front-door parking and is wheelchair accessible,” Combs said.

“All the same merchandise that customers found in our Kenneth Street location will be available at the TCH site. The current staff at the location will continue to work at the other store, which was important to all of us. All the merchandise in the Kenneth Street store will be on sale for 50 per cent to 70 per cent off through Christmas Eve because we need to make more room in the other location.”


The Victoria-based Downs Construction Ltd. opened its second location on Vancouver Island earlier this month at 2994 Boys Rd. in Duncan.

Downs Construction Ltd. is a family-owned business that has been serving the restoration and renovation needs of Greater Victoria and neighboring communities for more than 40 years.

Although the company specializes in restoration work, it is also adept at minor repairs, major renovations and additions.

Dave Neal, general manager at the Duncan store, said some of the workers at the Victoria site live in the Cowichan Valley and would commute to work each day.

Those employees said there was enough restoration and other construction work in the Valley to open a second Downs Construction location here, and the company’s upper management agreed, he said.

“We’ve been getting increasingly busy since we opened on Boys Road on Nov. 1, and our workers from the Valley have a much shorter commute as well,” Neal said.

“The owners would like to see the company expand even further north up the Island, but we’re just one month in here so we want to see how this goes before we consider anything like that.”


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is again inviting people to the Shop Sip & Support event at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre on Dec. 3, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Over the last 21-months, it has become increasingly apparent that supporting local businesses and vendors is vital to the community and local economy, and the chamber is encouraging people to support them over the holidays.

For this event, the visitor centre will be transformed into a vendor marketplace with Cowichan-made and Island Good products, featuring guest vendors like Shawnigan House Coffee & Chocolate, Island Gem & Bead Supply, and Little Zimbabwe Farm.

The products available are perfect stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts, client presents, and appreciation gifts.

Chamber elves will be available at the event to create custom holiday gift baskets with the local items available.

The chamber is also asking shoppers to consider donating to the Salvation Army, who will be at the event collecting donations for the 2021 Kettle Drive.

“The chamber is promoting this event as the perfect way to start your Friday evening, with one complimentary holiday beverage for each attendee and light snacks available,” a release from the chamber said.

“For an after-shopping dinner experience, we suggest supporting one of the many local restaurants or enjoying the opening night of the Christmas Express at the BC Forest Discovery Centre.”

For more information on this event, call 250-746-4636.


In other chamber news, four new board directors were acclaimed at the chamber’s AGM on Nov. 23.

They are Alan Sanders from IG Wealth, Johnna Puusa from Ethos Career Management, Linda Tesser at Coast Outdoor Advertising and Dr. Shelley Cook from the Cowichan Housing Association.

Four incumbent directors were also acclaimed at the AGM.

They are Julie Scurr from Coast Salish Insurance, Leah Hudson from Grant Thorton LLP, David van Deventer from the Cowichan Valley Citizen and Zaida Giron from MNP LLP.

Five directors of the board are also continuing their terms.

They are Chris Duncan from MNP LLP, Matthew Houtari from Panago Pizza, Tammy Gurski from Valley Carpet One, Renee Russell from Pemberton Holmes and Jason Farrugia from Island Savings.

The executive for 2021/22 will be elected at the next board of directors meeting.

Chamber President Julie Scurr said the most prevalent theme of the chamber’s AGM was the continued commitment and call to support local.

“Local businesses are the backbone of the Cowichan Valley,” she said.

“Showing our support for local businesses and reminding people to keep their money here in the Valley continues to be the chamber’s number one goal.”


A $5,000 contribution from Mid-Island Co-op will allow the Take A Hike pilot program in Duncan to become a full-time offering in the community.

Take a Hike empowers youth who experience vulnerability to change the trajectory of their lives with a full-time mental health and emotional well-being program embedded in an alternate education classroom.

Starting in 2019, Take a Hike introduced its life-changing program to youth in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith community starting with one program, but quickly pivoted to offer an additional pilot program in Duncan in response to community demand.

Mid-Island Co-op’s support will allow Take a Hike to continue supporting youth in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Cowichan communities.

“We are grateful for the support Mid-Island Co-op has provided for our Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Cowichan programs,” said Gordon Matchett, Take a Hike CEO.

“This funding will provide uninterrupted mental health support to mid-island youth.”

Impacts seen through the Take a Hike’s program include the fact that 70 per cent of youth in the program reported improvements in their mental health and well-being despite the on-going pandemic; 81 per cent of the youths reported an increase in resilience and personal competence particularly within self-management, relationship skills, and understanding their emotions; and the program has a 93 per cent graduation rate.

“Mid Island Co-op is excited to support the great work the Take a Hike Foundation is doing with local youth in our community,” said Doreen Gatt, Mid-Island Co-op board member.

“Their support positively impacts our youth and we are proud to help Take A Hike continue their incredible programs.”

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